An evening with Polly Higgins

On Thursday 6 November, 7:30 pm, I will be hosting Polly Higgins at the Turner Sims concert venue at the University of Southampton.

[noun] is the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished.

Polly has become renowned for spearheading the campaign to bring a Law of Ecocide as the 5th crime against humanity, peace and ultimately nature, to stand alongside war crimes and genocide. Polly will give a talk that, after a short break with some complimentary refreshments, will be followed by what I’m sure will be a lively panel discussion.

Tickets can be obtained from the Turner Sims website here.

Come and listen to a legend of our times and ask questions to a panel of esteemed guests, including Keith Taylor MEP.

Open Letter from academics requesting VC to withdraw Southampton from Pension Proposal to End FSS

Dear Prof Nutbeam,

We would like to share with you how concerned your colleagues are regarding the proposed abolition of the Final Salary Scheme (FSS). Such a change would significantly affect both established and early career staff who have been encouraged to make future plans on the provisions of this scheme. We are deeply concerned that Southampton has been pulled into a proposal that could produce significant decreases in the financial security of staff.

We are particularly concerned at the lack of transparency surrounding this issue. Indeed, there are increasing reasons to dispute some of the fundamental conclusions that underpin the proposed changes.

Therefore we appeal to you that you withdraw the University of Southampton from the USS / Universities proposal that includes elimination of the Final Salary Scheme.

To elaborate, we support the letter from the group of internationally recognised statisticians concerning the errors in the Employers Pension Forum  regarding “Proposed Changes to USS – Myths, Misconceptions and Misunderstandings”.

Furthermore, we agree with the questions raised by Oxford Professor Cooper regarding the assumptions behind the valuation of the Pension Fund. In particular

“It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the proposed decrease in our pension benefits is due to an unreasonable method of calculating the deficit and a mis-conceived reaction to it. Central UCU officers have been arguing with USS for a more sensible valuation method, but so far without success….Since most of the USS investments are not in gilts, it is not at all clear that this is a sensible way to estimate the liabilities, especially when the gilts market is in an unusual state. The problem is not the investment strategy, which has performed well, but the calculation method.”

We were informed that the changes introduced in 2011 would assure the future viability of USS, details here.

We also agree with the Hutton Pension report’s recommendation on Final Salary Schemes that these should be respected as well as protected, that the cost in erosion of trust is too high.

Based on the conclusions of both eminent experts and third party professional analysis provided by the UCU, and in concert with the Hutton report’s recommendations, we do not see a fair basis for the radical set of proposals put forward by the Universities/USS.

We therefore request that you act on behalf of your colleagues and assume a leadership role in these pension discussions and withdraw the University of Southampton from supporting any proposal that would disband the Final Salary Scheme.

Members of Electronics & Computer Science

Thomas Andritsch
Markus Brede
Michael Butler
John Carter
Paul Chappell
Martin Charlton
George Chen
Sheng Chen
Harold Chong
Tim Chown
Bing Chu
Enrico Costanza
Richard Crowder
Hugh Davis
Maruitis de Planque
Terry Elliot
Julian Field
Chris Freeman
Stephen B Gabriel
Enrico Gerding
Lester Gilbert
Nick Gibbins
Igor Golosnoy
Nicolas Green
Basal Halak
Lajos Hanzo
Nick Harris
Jonathon Hare
Yvonne Howard
Jack Hunter
Paul Lewin
Joyce Lewis
Sasan Mahmoodi
Koushik Maharatna
Kirk Martinez
Rob Maunder
Iain McNally
Geoff Merrett
David Millard
Hywel Morgan
Brendan Neville
Mahesan Niranjan
Michael Ng
Reena Pau
James Pilgrim
Maria Polukarov
Themis Prodromakis
Mike Poppleton
Sarvapali Ramchurn
Bill Redman White
Jeff Reeve
Alex Rogers
Eric Rogers
Vladimiro Sassone
m.c. schraefel
Sebastian Stein
Colin Upstill
Alun Vaughan
Mike Wald
Richard Watson
Alex S Weddell
Neil White
Reuben Wilcock
James Wilkinson
Peter Wilson
Ed Zaluska
Klaus-Peter Zauner
Rong Zhang
Mark Zwolinski

Members of Geography & Environment

Pete Atkinson
Sam Cockings
Nick Clarke
Steve Darby
John Dearing
James Dyke
Mary Edwards
Lyn Ertl
Jane Hart
Paul Hughes
Pete Langdon
Julian Leyland
Graham Moon
Jo Nield
Suzanne Reimer
Emma Roe
Gareth Roberts
David Sear
Luigi Sedda
Peter Sunley
Richard Teves
Emma Tompkins
Julie Vullnetari
Nicola Waldrop
Eleanor Wilkinson